My recent trip to Tamarindo was one of those trips where I didn’t plan anything aside from where I would sleep every night, and when I would be flying home. Tamarindo, Costa Rica is one of those places where you can just do that, rock up and see where it takes you. Now mind you, it wasn’t what I had envisioned, but did I not have an incredible time.
It’s one of those places where you can make it whatever you want it to be. It’s super safe as long as you’re not a complete douche, and you know what I mean – no one wants to be that person.
By the end of it, I couldn’t get enough and had wished I had another week. I say take it day by day. It’s a town that has everything to offer from pure relaxation to adrenaline-pumping adventure tours to the beautiful wildlife.
The only thing I would advise is that if you are traveling during the peak season, then you should look into reservations as sometimes it’s booked out.
If you’re looking for things to do in Tamarindo, well here’s my top 5 list of things to do in Tamarindo:
1. Sunset Catamaran Cruise/Boat Trip
If there is one tour I would recommend that is a must, is the Sunset Catamaran Cruise. I recognize it can start to add up with all the different tours but by far, this is one that is worth every dollar. It’s an all-inclusive half-day cruise where they pick you up from the beach at noon. You’re then taken to a secluded beach a little further north where you can go snorkeling and just simply chill.
Lunch and snacks are provided, and there’s an open bar. Personally, the thing that made it genuinely worth it was watching the sunset as you headed back into town. There was not a cloud in sight, and I felt utterly lost, just sitting there as the sun slowly disappeared. I recommend doing the cruise on your last couple of days as it’ll make it that little extra special.
Cost: $95 USD
2. Surfing/Surf Camp
If there is anywhere in the world, you were going to learn how to surf. Tamarindo would be the place. I’ve done a few lessons in the past, but nothing comes in comparison. The coaches are exceptional, and there’s something to admire from the fact that they are great humans. The knowledge and technical detail they share completely changed the way I surfed and reignited my passion for the sport. I cannot thank you enough Churro (I think that’s how you spell his name), please go check out his Instagram @surf.every.day
The conditions at Playa Tamarindo beach are perfect for beginners, long clean breaks, and the waves aren’t huge that you feel like it was going to swallow you up and take you out to sea. I know that feeling when panic sinks in as soon as you can’t feel your toes touching the seafloor. Trust me, most of the time, you’ll be learning within reach of the shore.
If it’s ever been on your bucket list to give it a try or if you’re looking for multiple lessons that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Then I highly recommend La Oveja Tamarindo. Another popular surf camp is Iguana Surf, but their group sizes are larger. Whereas La Oveja’s sizes were 5 max. Most of the time it turned out to just be you and the instructor (a private lesson for the price of a group lesson, now what’s better than that?).
Cost: There was a great deal at the time when I visited in November. 3 lessons plus 3 breakfasts (and dam is the food there good) for just $100 USD. Their prices are competitive at $35 USD per lesson.
3. Adventure Tour – Ziplining, Tubing, Horse Riding & Hot Springs
If you’re looking for a bit of fun and adventure, but can’t decide from the wide range of choices. Well, here’s one tour with a bit of everything. The Adventure Tour is surely bang for your buck. It’s a full day tour on the outskirts of Tamarindo that has a jam-packed agenda. The tour includes ziplining, tubing, horse riding, mud facials, and you’ll end the day soaking in the natural hot springs.
Even though I traveled by myself, I had such a wonderful time. I made friends with a couple who were also OB-GYN surgeons – I was in good hands in case I needed an emergency Endometrial Ablation. It was the right amount of time for each activity. You didn’t feel like you were trapped or that you were only there for a hot second. If you’re interested, you can book this tour from Native’s Way Costa Rica.
Cost: $125 USD
4. Turtle Nesting
Now I must emphasize it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get to see turtles’ nest or even a turtle for that fact, but it’s well worth it. Even if it’s a chance to witness something so incredible – you can’t predict or plan for mother nature.
Personally, we didn’t have the greatest of luck but nevertheless I really enjoyed the whole experience. It felt like you were in the Amazing Race running from one beach to the next to spot a turtle. We were a little early in the season, but we did get to catch the end of a turtle laying her eggs. Walking away, the most valuable thing I learnt was the importance of turtle conservation and that we need to protect what we have now to ensure it’s still around in the future.
Cost: $45 USD
5. Explore the Many Beaches for You to Soak Up That Glorious Sun
Part of the reason I had planned this trip was that winter was coming, and it was my only chance to get in some sun before the eternal misery. While you get the opportunity, you’ll want to make sure you lap up as much sun as you can. And the nearby beaches in and around Tamarindo are the perfect place to do so – whether it’s a day trip out to Playa Flamingo or just near Playa Tamarindo. If you do stay in Playa Tamarindo, I recommend sticking to the left (as you face the beach). It’s much quieter and ideal for those undisturbed sunbathing sessions.
If you’re after something a little more private, than you should continue to head left and around Playa Langosta. There are a few smaller beaches if you are looking for some peace and quiet. Though I must warn you, you’ll have to head there when it’s in-between low & high tide. When the tide is high, you’ll need to swim through, and when it’s low, you’ll get stuck in between the rocks.
There’s also the option to rent a kayak and head to Isla Capitán if you’re up for something a little different. You can even pack a light picnic, which is a bit romantic. It’s about a 15-minute kayak away from the beach line. I recommend hiring the kayak at Langosta Beach Club as they’re super friendly there.
Cost: Free, unless you do decide to hire a kayak.
Thank you for reading my latest post. Planning a trip to Toronto? Make sure you first check out my latest post 24 hours in Toronto, Canada. Here you’ll find my top 3 recommendations on where to stay, eat and explore.